The Community
      Assistance Center
Offering Specialized Programs to Enhance Community Safety and Productivity

Mission Statement:

The Community Assistance Center is a private, non-profit organization which has been working since 1958 to make Hawai’i a safer place. We serve the community by teaching our clients — offenders, offenders’ families, ex-offenders, and youth involved with the criminal justice system — a range of fundamental skills which help them avoid repeat-offending and become more self-reliant, law-abiding, and productive citizens.

Our work improves community safety and supports the criminal justice system by increasing the effectiveness of an offender’s rehabilitation. CAC programs lower the cost of incarceration to the taxpayer by both reducing the recidivism rate among felons and by providing sound sentencing components which may reduce an offender’s prison time. The Community Assistance Center improves the criminal justice system and its results by initiating and supporting penal reform, educating the public, and developing programs tailored to the needs of Hawai’i’s people.


Our History:

The Community Assistance Center was founded in 1958 as an all-volunteer (no paid staff) agency dedicated to providing assistance to inmates of (then) Oahu Prison who were returning to the community after having served their sentences. Originally known as the John Howard Association of Hawai’i, named after the 18th Century reformer who dedicated his life and fortune to improving conditions in English prisons, the agency took its present name in 2003.

The John Howard Association of Hawaii started out as a walk-in service center offering emergency housing assistance, job-placement services, and clothing, shoes, and other immediate necessities for newly-released inmates. Its original office was located above the Kau Kau Korner Drive-In restaurant at the gateway to Waikiki, and funding was provided almost entirely by membership dues, fundraisers, and donations from local individuals and businesses.

Over the years, the agency has developed and operated a variety of programs and activities designed to fit the needs of the community and the criminal justice system, including:

  • Founding Hawai’i’s first halfway house for newly-released inmates, Liliha House, in 1970.
  • In-prison visits to provide pre-release counseling to inmates.
  • Created the Waianae Rap Center, a Model Cities Drug Abuse Program for youth, in 1970.
  • Worked toward the passage in 1972 of the Hawaii Revised Penal Code and  Master Plan on Corrections in Hawai’i.
  • Developed the Juvenile Anger Management Program for Family Court on Oahu  in 1988.
  • Established Hui Ola Juvenile Transition Home for youth offenders in 1990.
  • Established Ho’ulu Kuahiwi Wilderness Program for adjudicated youth in 1990, based on the Outward Bound model.
  • Began developing and operating the Sex Offender Treatment Program for the State of Hawai’i Department of Public Safety, 1991.

Today, Community Assistance Center continues to work for the improvement of Hawai’i’s criminal justice system through public information and education, initiation and support of penal reform, and the development of new programs tailored to the needs of the people of Hawai’i.

CAC is dedicated to the concept of alternative sentencing as a means of lowering taxpayer costs and improving prison conditions, providing responsible community treatment plans, monitoring and redefining external programs, and supporting progressive individualized plans for sentences other than prison for qualified convicted felons.

Programs:Community Assistance Program — Our original program, operating continuously since 1958, has served thousands of men and women. It assists offenders, ex-offenders, and crime-prone adults, offering job placement and housing referrals, financial assistance for bus passes and vital documents, clothing, shoes, backpacks, and other necessities.

Juvenile Anger Management Program (JAMP) — Inaugurated in 1988, JAMP teaches young people new skills to positively express their emotions in ways which cause no harm to others or themselves. Our clients are referred to us by Family Court after acting out at school, at home, or in public. The goal is to help clients understand that they have behavioral choices and teach them how to use better coping strategies to deal with their anger. The program has a success rate of over 80% of all clients who finish the course not reoffending.

Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP) — Beginning in 1991, when the State of Hawaii first began offering SOTP in its prison system, CAC has become the premier deliverer of SOTP services in the State of Hawai’i. We offer an aggressive curriculum based on research-proven Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy principles whose goal is to get those convicted of sexual offenses to take responsibility for their crimes; understand how and why they did what they did; and learn coping strategies to avoid repeating their offending behaviors. The program strives to help participants see their relationships and responsibilities to others in their communities, understand how their behavior affects everyone around them, and in particular, to gain a feeling of empathy for their victims.

CAC currently serves clients incarcerated at Halawa Correctional Facility and Women’s Community Correctional Center on Oahu; Maui Community Correctional Center; and Kulani Correctional Facility on the Big Island. We also provide Aftercare services for parolees on Maui and the Big Island, as well as residents at Hale Nani Work Furlough Center on the Big Island. Additionally, we provide SOTP services to Adult Probation clients on the Big Island, and to Federal Probation clients on Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island.

The Core Curriculum taught at Halawa and Kulani prisons is an intensive and comprehensive one. Inmates meet for two-hour sessions twice each week. The curriculum consists of six major modules: Anger and Stress Management; Communication and Social Skills; Human Sexuality and Relationship Skills; Cognitive Restructuring; Relapse Prevention; and Victim Empathy.

Inmates must meet rigorous performance standards to successfully complete the program. They are required to pass a written test for each module, and must complete all six modules in order to be eligible for parole.

The Sex Offender Treatment Program as conducted by Community Assistance Center has an impressive record of success: Out of more than 3,000 inmates who have completed the program since its inception in 1991, fewer than 6% have been convicted of committing new sexual assaults, compared to the national recidivism rate of 10%.



Recent Events

  • Outdoor Activities
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  • Summer Camps
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